Parafoveal previews and lexical frequency in natural reading: Evidence from eye movements and fixation-related potentials.

Participants’ eye movements and electroencephalogram (EEG) signal were recorded as they read sentences displayed according to the gaze-contingent boundary paradigm. Two target words in each sentence were manipulated for lexical frequency (high vs. low frequency) and parafoveal preview of each target word (identical vs. string of random letters vs. string of Xs). Eye movement data revealed visual parafoveal-on-foveal (PoF) effects, as well as foveal visual and orthographic preview effects and word frequency effects. Fixation-related potentials (FRPs) showed visual and orthographic PoF effects as well as foveal visual and orthographic preview effects. Our results replicated the early preview positivity effect (Dimigen, Kliegl, & Sommer, 2012) in the X-string preview condition, and revealed different neural correlates associated with a preview comprised of a string of random letters relative to a string of Xs. The former effects seem likely to reflect difficulty associated with the integration of parafoveal and foveal information, as well as feature overlap, while the latter reflect inhibition, and potentially disruption, to processing underlying reading. Interestingly, and consistent with Kretzschmar, Schlesewsky, and Staub (2015), no frequency effect was reflected in the FRP measures. The findings provide insight into the neural correlates of parafoveal processing and written word recognition in reading and demonstrate the value of utilizing ecologically valid paradigms to study well established phenomena that occur as text is read naturally. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)